How To Guides
If you’re looking at getting into circuit racing, you’ll most likely be aware that you need a race licence to compete. But if you’ve had a quick look at the resources available on the internet, you might find yourself a bit confused about which one you need and how exactly you go about gaining it. In this article, we’ll discuss exactly that and by the end, you’ll hopefully feel confident enough to take the next steps towards becoming a circuit racer.
Firstly, there are a couple of race licences available in the UK, but they’re each for different aspects of racing. The competition licences in the UK include Race, Kart and Rally. Within these categories, there are different grades: International, National, Interclub and Clubman.
For circuit racing, you need a Race licence, and the grade of which depends on firstly what events you want to take part in, and secondly, the amount of experience you have. You can’t just go straight from your ARDS test to driving with an International race licence, instead, you need to accrue experience in the lower levels of the sport before you can earn it.
Firstly, you need to buy what’s called a ‘Go Racing Pack’ from MSUK. You can purchase it online from their shop here for £99. This pack contains everything you need to get started with your race licence application. It includes:
Once you have this pack, get started on filling out your application form, as you will need it when you take your ARDS test. We won’t go through all the details here as they’re covered in your pack, but you will need to consider the timing for getting a medical and/or vision test done before you book your ARDS test.
Additionally, the cost of your first year’s licence is included with the pack, so that’s one less expenditure to worry about!
We could write an entire article on this, with our very own EnduroKa team having gone through this process themselves, but for this piece, we’ll stick to the basics.
So what does it entail? Essentially, it’s a bit like a regular driving test, with a theory and practical test, albeit on a race circuit. There are several locations you can take your test across the country, so if you can, choose somewhere that you’re familiar with - either from track days or sim racing.
Speaking of track days, nothing is stopping you from booking a couple of these to get used to driving with others on the track. Your ARDS test won’t necessarily take place on a quiet circuit, so think about how you can best prepare before the big day.
Lots of circuits offer driving instruction which you can include as part of your ARDS test package, in which the instructor offers you some tips and tricks in the car before your test. If you’re not feeling very confident or have little experience on a track, this may be a good option.
The first stage in your ARDS test is the theory. You need to pass this before being able to move on to your practical test. Most ARDS tests cost between £200-£400, depending on the circuit. Once you’ve passed this, you have your Interclub licence, and you can now go racing!
If you’re interested in racing above Interclub level, you’ll need to complete six races and accrue the appropriate signatures before you can apply for a National licence. When you first start racing, you’ll also be required to place a novice cross on your car so that others are aware you’re still gaining experience.